Some farmers in Ngwezi ward in Kazungula district, who took their maize to Ngwezi satellite depot, have asked government to provide them with empty grain bags as soon as possible.

The farmers complained that they have been sleeping at the depot for over three months now waiting for the Food and Reserve Agency (FRA) to purchase their produce.

A check by ZANIS at Ngwezi depot yesterday revealed that most of the grain bags are damaged and the maize might go to waste very soon.

Sydney Siantwala, who spoke on behalf of other farmers, requested the new dawn government to quickly address their plight.

And Kazungula District Cooperation Union chairman Elias Muluwa said farmers in the area were suffering and needed urgent help from the government.

“Farmers have brought their maize here for three to four months now. The rains are coming very soon. Look at the bags of maize which are tearing up resulting to maize pouring out. This situation is unacceptable to hard working farmers,” Mr. Muluwa lamented.

He said farmers were suffering hence government should assist them by providing them with empty grain bags.

Meanwhile, Katombola Member of Parliament Clement Andeleki assured the farmers of Ngwezi ward that government will purchase empty grain bags for their maize.

Dr. Andeleki, who addressed the people of Ngwezi ward at the central market yesterday, bemoaned the poor leadership of the previous regime saying the Patriotic Front (PF) government did not plan properly about the procurement of maize in the area.

 Source: LT《》RT

Fuel prices have gone up with effect from today, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) announced yesterday at a news conference in Lilongwe.

Mera Chief Executive Officer Henry Kachaje said petrol has now moved from K899.20 to K1,150 per litre representing 27.89 hike; diesel from K898 to K1,120 representing 24.72 percent and paraffin from K719.60 to K833.20 per litre representing a 15.79 percent increase.

The average hike for the three oil commodities is 22.8 percent.

Kachaje said several factors have contributed to the increase in pump prices.

They include the exchange rate of the kwacha against the United States dollar, changes in local factors that determine the maximum pump price on the landed cost of petroleum products and the combined effect of the movement of the Free On Board prices.

“Due to the above factors, the landed costs of petrol, diesel and paraffin increased,” Kachaje said.

Kachaje also said according to the Automatic Pricing Mechanism (APM), all the three products qualified for an upward price adjustment since the changes in their landed costs were beyond the plus or minus five percent trigger limit.

“In the October 2021 price review, the Mera Board has considered the changes in economic fundamentals outlined above and has resolved to adjust upwards pump prices of petrol, diesel and paraffin in line with the Automatic Pricing Mechanism effective October 10, 2021,” he said.

Director of Centre for Research and Consultancy Milward Tobias said the new fuel prices were expected considering the weakening of the kwacha against its trading partners.

“This means rising costs of commodities as fuel price is inflationary. Economy is run by transport. We need transport to move goods from area of production to markets. We need transport to get people to place of work and business,” Tobias said.

Tobias added that whenever a price of a component in the transport system goes up, prices of everything in the economy go up.

Tobias, however, indicated there is need for the political leadership to give solutions to stabilise the economy.

Mera last adjusted fuel prices in March this year.

 Source: Times Group《》RT

Following the government directive that subvented parastatal organisations should adjust salaries by an average of 12 percent effective July 1 2021, only the University of Malawi (Unima) has hiked salaries by 10 percent out of four public learning institutions we sourced information from.

Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), Mzuzu University (Mzuni) and Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (Mubas) are yet to make a decision as they did not set aside money for salary increment in their budgets.

The notice, which was signed by Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Nwazi Mnthambala, highlighted that the adjustment should, however, not affect operations of the institutions.

“In this regard, all subvented parastatal organisations are therefore advised to effect an average salary adjustment of not exceeding 12 percent, if it will be accommodated within the approved 2021-22 budget of the respective institution without affecting performance of the institution,” reads the statement he signed on September 2 2021.

The directive came at a time the government agreed to increase civil servants’ salaries by an average of 12 percent effective July 1 2021 in line with Civil Servants Trade Union demands.

While confirming that Unima, formerly Chancellor College, had effected the increment, University Workers Trade Union (Uwtu) President Moses Chintokoma indicated that the development had generated controversy.

In a letter that we have seen, dated September 23 2021, Chintokoma indicates that some members at Transition Unit, previously called University Office, who have the same conditions of service as Uwtu members have received a salary adjustment at the rate of 12 percent.

“What is the justification of discriminating other Uwtu members considering the fact that you have indicated in your letter that the 10 percent salary increase you intend to pay the members was already factored in the 2021-22 budget?

“Unless we hear from you seven days from the date hereof on when you will pay the remaining balance of 2 percent, we have made up our minds to do what the law allows us to do,” reads the letter addressed to the office of the University Registrar.

But Unima Registrar Mary Wasili simply said they had effected the upward adjustment with 10 percent because “it’s what was on our budget”.

At Mubas, a decision is yet to be made.

Yesterday, Academic Union President Maxford Chinomba said they were still waiting to hear from management on the way forward.

“We have had meetings on the matter with management but a decision is yet to be made,” he said.

At Mzuni, one source indicated that the institution has no money for the exercise as it was not budgeted for.

Another source indicated that the institution would need about K850 million more on its budget if the 12 percent increment were to be effected.

However, Mzuni Registrar was not available for a comment when contacted yesterday.

A similar situation is being faced at Must, which has over 250 members of staff.

Must Communications Manager James Mphande said a decision was yet to be made on the matter.

He could, however, not divulge more information, referring us to University Registrar Alfred Chinombo, who did not pick up our calls yesterday.

But a source privy to the issue said there was no money, ostensibly because the increment was not factored into the institution’s budget.

The source said, so far, the institution has had engagements with Ministry of Education and the university’s workers’ union on the way forward.

In the K1.9 trillion 2021-22 national budget, wages and salaries are projected at K436.3 billion, which represents 4.2 percent of the rebased gross domestic product.

At K436.3 billion, the wage bill represents 22 percent of the national budget which will run for nine months from July 2021 to March 2022.

 Source: Times Group《》RT

By Lazarous Sichula

MTN Zambia has become the first telecommunication company in the Country to achieve the 2021 GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications, originally Groupe Spécial Mobile)  Mobile Money Certification.

The GSMA Mobile Money Certification is a global initiative to bring safer, more transparent, and resilient financial services to millions of mobile money users worldwide.

MTN Mobile Money managing director KOMBA MALUKUTILA says his company is honored to be the first Fintech organization to be awarded the GSMA certification.

Mr. MALUKUTILA says this recognition is a testament to MTN Mobile Money’s growth and its passion to deliver world-class solutions.

And GSMA’s Head of Financial Inclusion ASHLEY OLSON ONYANGO says the globe initiative certification aims to take the mobile money industry to the next level.

She says this is by improving quality of services and customer satisfaction, facilitating the implementation of trusted partnerships and building greater trust with regulators.

The GSMA certification defines and promotes excellence in the provision of mobile money services.

 Source: ZNBC《》RT

By Lucky Phiri:

Electrical equipment meant for the Sub -Station at the Kafue Bulk Water Project has started arriving in the country.

And Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company Managing Director Jonathan Kampata says engineers have started assembling the equipment.

Mr. Kampata says the delay in the arrival of the equipment from China was due to congestion in the shipping process.

He said this during the launch of the digital real time metering system for the water utility company in Lusaka.

And Mr. Kampata said the metering system is meant to minimize irregularities in the billing of the water usage between the water utility company and its customers.

He said the project is currently being employed in 1 hundred and 60 areas across the Capital City.

Mr. Kampata said the digital metering system will enhance efficiency in service delivery.

He said the initiative will also be extended to Chilanga, Kafue, Chongwe and other areas.

Source: ZNBC《》RT

By Lucky Phiri:

The Kwacha has continued on a bullish run against the United States dollar.

Currently the local unit is trading between 15 and 16 kwacha against one united states dollar.

And Some Lusaka Residents are impressed with the recent performance of the Kwacha.

They have told ZNBC News that they are optimistic that prices of essential commodities will reduce if the Kwacha continues to appreciate.

Meanwhile, others are happy after observing a slight reduction in prices of some commodities such as eggs and potatoes.

A tray of eggs which was costing over 60 Kwacha is fetching between 50 and 55 Kwacha while a 10 Kilogram bag of Potatoes which was selling at over 1-hundred and 20 kwacha is now fetching between 90 and 1-hundred and 15.

Source: ZNBC《》RT

 

 

By Buumba Chimbulu

The US$ 1.3 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to be allocated to Zambia this month will improve international confidence in the economy and assist in stabilising its macroeconomic environment.

Zambia is this month expected to receive US$ 1.3 billion SDRs from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ease its economic stress, which has been brought about by the pandemic.

The reallocation of this fund could be crucial in assisting African countries such as Zambia in building more resilience in the economy as well as stabilise its macroeconomic environment, says Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) Executive Director, Bernadette Deka-Zulu.

Ms Deka-Zulu stated that it was anticipated that the SDRs would improve international confidence in Zambia’s economy, thereby trigger local and international investments.

She indicated that this would help the Zambian Government cope with the impacts of the pandemic and improve the post Covid-19 economic recovery prospects while providing crucial support to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

“A critical component of the Zambian economy is the SMEs that were adversely affected by the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruption to business activities in Zambia and this has in turn affected the ability of SMEs to remain afloat.

“The IMF injection could provide crucial support in addition to the initial bailout package provided by the Zambian Government in assisting SMEs improve their business operations during the pandemic”, she said in a statement.

Ms Deka-Zulu stated that it should be noted that this injection to the Zambian economy came before a possible IMF bailout which was currently still under advanced negotiation.

The injection, she said, came at a time when Zambia’s international reserves had increased to approximately US$1.4 billion, representing 3.5 months of import cover.

“In addition to providing the much needed liquidity to the country, the allocation to Zambia will assist in paying for needs related to healthcare such as oxygen and personal protective equipment.

“Furthermore, the support could be provided to vulnerable groups such as those with disabilities as well as women and youths,” Ms Deka-Zulu said.

Source: Daily Nation《》RT

 

Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Charles Mushota has disclosed that the government has released 25-million Kwacha to local sub-contractors working on the Kashikishi-Luchinda Road in Chienge district.

Speaking when he called on Senior Chief Mununga and Chief Puta at their palaces in Chienge district on Sunday, Mushota noted that the sub-contractors have made notable progress on the road.

He added that the government is committed to ensuring the road is completed to enhance adequate road transport in the district.

Mushota also disclosed that Visha Investment, a subcontractor has been given 10-million Kwacha to work on Lucinda-Kashikishi Road and Copperfield Services the subcontractor working on the Chienge-Lambwe Chomba road has been given 15-million Kwacha.

He added that government has done its best to fund the road works despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economy.

And Mushota observed that there are a lot of business opportunities across the border to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which people are taking advantage of but only lacking in a good road to promote commerce and trade.

Meanwhile, Chief Puta of the Bwile People in Chienge district thanked government for showing commitment in constructing the Chienge-Kashikishi and the Chienge-Lambwe Chomba roads.

Chief Puta observed that previously the road network in Chienge district was bad and mostly not accessible.

And Senior Chief Mununga of the Shila People in Chienge observed that with the works that government is doing in the district his people only know President Lungu as their leader.

He noted that the road network is improving in the district due to the good leadership of the Republican President.

Chief Mununga says that the works that government is doing in the area should continue even after the August 12, 2021 General Election.

Source: ZANIS《》RT

Qatar Airways on Friday launched a new service to Lusaka in Zambia and Harare, bringing its service to two important southern African destinations.

The new service to Lusaka and onwards to Harare will connect passengers in Zambia and Zimbabwe with Qatar Airways’ global network of more than 140 destinations, reported Gulf Times.

 

With the addition of these two new routes, the carrier will operate over 100 weekly flights to 27 destinations in Africa.

The launch of Lusaka and Harare also supports increased demand for trade between Zambia and Zimbabwe and destinations on the Qatar Airways network such as London, Frankfurt and New York and from multiple points in China.

The weekly three flights are on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The schedule is as follows: Doha (DOH) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1455 departs: 02:20 arrives: 08:50, Lusaka (LUN) to Harare (HRE) QR1455 departs: 10:20 arrives: 11:20, Harare (HRE) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1456 departs: 18:55 arrives 19:55, Lusaka (LUN) to Doha (DOH) QR1456 departs: 21:25 arrive 05:55 (+1).

Source: Pindula News《》RT

President Edgar Lungu has proposed for the creation of a multi-disciplinary taskforce to develop a roadmap on how castor can be promoted in the country.

Speaking in Serenje yesterday at the Zambia Castor Industry Multipurpose Cooperative Society, President Lungu says more work and research needs to be done in order to boost castor production in Zambia.

Mr Lungu expressed confidence that castor has the potential to reach standards that have been set for crops such as maize, soya beans and wheat in the country.

The President said the growing of castor is in line with government’s policy of diversifying crop production.

“The promotion of castor production sits very well with my government’s goal of ensuring that the agriculture sector is diversified, climate resilient, export oriented and private sector driven,” Mr Lungu said.

The head of state however cautioned against repeating past mistakes made during the promotion of new crops.

President Lungu cited mistake such as limited investment in training of farmers on how to grow and market new crops.

Mr Lungu also enlisted lack of a sustainable strategy, which ensures regular income for farmers, as they await returns from the new crop as another challenge in the past.

He added that previous castor projects failed to take off, because of the lack of strategic partnerships.

“Therefore, partnerships with people experienced in Castor Bean production is critical in ensuring the success of this project,” Mr Lungu noted.

The President pledged his government’s total support to producers of the crop.

Mr Lungu advised the farmers to avoid shortcuts and ensure that the art of producing castor beans is not affected.

He thanked the traditional leadership in the area for supporting the project.

“I wish to express my gratitude to their royal highnesses, Chieftainess Serenje and Chief Kabamba for the support they have rendered to this castor project,” the President said.

Castor seeds are used as one of the chief ingredients in a wide variety of medicines in treating Rheumatism and Arthritis among other diseases.

Source: LT《》RT

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